Slide Show: Cruise Night car of the week Q & A

09/17/2011 7:40 AM |

Stephen Pendola, 68, of Center Moriches owns the News-Review Cruise Night Car of the Week for Sept. 15′s show. Scroll down for photos and to see what he had to say about his 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Club Coupe. The 3.5L V8 muscle car still has the original 350 cubic inch motor with a 325 horsepower engine.

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1) When did you get the car?

I bought the car in 1994 from Wally Schaefer in Mattituck. He did the roll cage on my son William Anthony’s race car. My son saw it in the garage and called me up and said you have to buy this car. I always wanted one of these. I didn’t even start it or drive it, I just picked it up.

2) What shape was it in?

It was in good condition. But it was a family car more than anything else. I made it into a muscle car.

3) What was the biggest challenge in restoring it, and did you do the work yourself?

I don’t know. I wanted to beef up the horsepower so my son put a 3,000 stall speed converter and also changed the gear ratios in the rear from 308 to 355. With 355′s the car gets up and goes faster. He also took out the points and put in an Eccel electronic ignition. That way it doesn’t overheat. My son William Anthony, who passed away earlier this year, did all the mechanical work. He was an excellent mechanic who could do anything. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t tackle. He had hands of gold and was a great race driver.

4) What’s your favorite thing/feature on the car?

I guess I like the way it looks. It had the original vinyl roof and interior. The color is neon blue- the original paint color and I had it repainted at Croce Body Shop in East Moriches. It had 71,000 miles when I bought it and now it has 93,000.

5) What was the first car you owned, make and model?

It was a 1957 Dodge Coronet. I bought that when I was 20 years old in 1963. I just got married to my wife, Ann. I paid $350 for it and kept it for a year. Then I bought a 1958 Chevy Biscayne.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Stephen Pendola holds a photograph of him and his late son, William Anthony Pendola, in front of his son's race car. His son used to drag race in Westhampton.